Drug Detox Demand May Be Reduced By New Online Prescription Drug Program

Drug Detox Demand May Be Reduced By New Online Prescription Drug Program

Most of the 500 Metro Detroit doctors who recently evaluated a new online prescription drug program say it improves patient safety and quality of care by reducing the number of pharmacy errors, patient allergies and harmful drug interactions that can occur as a result of hand-written prescriptions. This is good news for the thousands of victims of prescription drug problems who end up needing drug detox. The majority of drug-related trips to emergency rooms and detox centers - not to mention sudden deaths and trips to the morgue - are caused by problems with prescription drugs. Hospitals, ERs and detox centers in recent years are seeing more dependencies, addictions, overdoses and life-threatening drug interactions as a result of prescription drugs than more traditional illicit street drugs like heroin, cocaine in its many forms, and perhaps methamphetamine.

Most drug detox facilities now provide specialized medical drug detox services for a host of different prescription drugs. And although detox centers help people with problems caused by legitimate prescriptions, many of the most commonly abused prescription drugs have found their way into the illicit street drug pipeline. And virtually all of the popular prescription drugs now found in schoolyards, night clubs and on the streets require drug detox to safely get off them. The new prescription drug program, called ePrescription, is used by doctors right in their offices to access online information about a prescription drug, including generic alternatives, potentially harmful drug interactions, and potential allergic reactions.

Patients already taking other prescription drugs often don't remember what they're taking or forget to tell the doctor about them - or the doctor doesn't ask. But because the program lists all the patient's medications, it helps avoid the serious side effects or even dependencies that lead to drug detox when the wrong drugs are combined. And because the doctor uses the computer to print out new prescriptions, it helps prevent patients from getting the wrong drug or wrong dosage just because a pharmacist couldn't read the doctor's handwriting. In the two years that doctors have tested the program, 3.3 million prescriptions were written, and nearly a third of them - one million prescriptions - were identified as offering potentially harmful drug interactions, and another 100,000 prescriptions were spotted as being potentially allergic. In all, 423,000 prescriptions were corrected - changes that, if not corrected, might have caused injuries and even deaths.

For drugs with a high potential for dependency such as narcotic painkillers and many antidepressants and antipsychotics, keeping track of the prescriptions with the computer surely helped prevent trips to drug detox. The power of the new program to improve patient health and prevent prescription drug misadventure was lauded by most of the doctors testing it. They said it alerted them to potential problems they wouldn't have noticed otherwise, and they liked how the program let them check other medicines patients were taking.

Mixing prescriptions is always an area of risk that can precipitate dependency or addiction and lead to the need for drug detox or to complications and even death. Detroit's new online prescription drug computer program appears to be helping get that city's prescription drug error and abuse situation under control, and should help save a lot of people from needing a drug detox program.

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